A conscript displays his identifying dog tag at the Tel Hashomer Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Recruitment Center near Tel Aviv March 14, 2010..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Sixty-three teenagers from around the country penned an open letter on Thursday declaring their refusal to enlist in the IDF.
The letter, first published by Yediot Aharonot, was addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.
“The army implements the policy of a racist government that violates basic human rights, which applies one law to Israelis and another to the Palestinians in the same area,” the students wrote. “Therefore we decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, which separates people into two hostile camps. Because as long as people live under occupation that denies them human rights and national rights we will not be able to achieve peace.”
They criticized the separation wall, the blockade on the Gaza strip and especially “the settlements,” which they claimed “sever the Palestinians from each other in enclaves and strive to prevent territorial continuity.”
The students placed blame squarely on the government and the IDF for the lack of peace and “the ‘temporary' ongoing situation the past 50 years” and said they are seeking to “change the entire system.”
“Militarism” is ingrained in Israeli society from preschool onward, they wrote, and the socioeconomic situation allows for the continued exploitation of the Palestinians.
Additionally, the students blamed the IDF for covering up the truth: “The freedom to report and disseminate the information about what goes on is also denied, by journalist detentions and censorship,” they wrote.
They concluded the letter by calling on other youth to question and refuse enlistment in the IDF: “We call on youth our age to ask for themselves: Does military service actually work toward this reality?”